Let’s toast undermining the will of the people!

They posture as defenders of our national sovereignty. But for years the Brexit rebels have let Brussels make our laws.

TORY rebels threw a boozy party to celebrate their defeat of Theresa May were shunned by colleagues yesterday.

Several of the 11-strong rebel group retired to Parliament’s lavish Pugin Room after joining forces with Labour to inflict a 309-305 defeat on the PM over Brexit on Wednesday night. A photograph showed four of the rebels – Anna Soubry, Bob Neill, Antoinette Sandbach and Heidi Allen – at a table laden with bottles of white wine and glasses. They were later said to have been joined by former education secretary Nicky Morgan and rebel ringleader Dominic Grieve, who was cheered as he entered the room.

Miss Soubry yesterday denied a claim the rebels had toasted their ‘victory’ with champagne, telling MPs: ‘Nobody drank champagne, not on these benches.’ But former minister Andrew Percy said other Tories were

irritated by their behaviour. He said: ‘I told them to pipe down because there’s people sitting there having a quiet drink and they are all cheering and clapping and I don’t think that was appropriate. I don’t think them swilling a lot of booze – because they were quite merry – is an appropriate thing.’

Mr Percy said he had refused to give Miss Sandbach a chair but denied he had told her it was ‘being saved for a Conservative’. Many Tory MPs were livid with their rebel colleagues. One pro-Remain former minister said: ‘It was just lawyerly grandstanding – totally self-indulgent. All it’s succeeded in doing is handing Corbyn a victory and making the Prime Minister’s life harder. These a***holes have never negotiated a thing in their lives.’

One report claimed tensions continued into yesterday, with a group of Tory MPs standing up and leaving their table in the Commons tea room when a rebel MP tried to join them for breakfast. Brass-plated hypocrites! – Page 15

ENGLAND’S Civil War, which began in 1642, was a fractious time in our history when the ruling elite was overthrown by Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentarians. Cromwell and his supporters were fed up with being lorded around by an arrogant Crown which for years had spent and taxed without giving the ruled a say in their affairs.

Some 374 years later — on June 23, 2016 — we saw a similar insurrection. This time the part of the bloated status quo was played by Parliament. Like the corrupt regime of Charles I, the Houses of Parliament had come to think they could behave as they wished. They regarded criticism as lese-majeste. When the Press exposed various parliamentary expenses fiddles, the Commons and Lords responded by trying to put newspapers out of business.

Parliament’s adversary in today’s civil war, however, is not the Press. It is a great deal mightier than that. It is the British people, who on that June day last year voted in record numbers to leave the ruling class’s beloved European Union.

Since then, as in 1642, the elite has been pushing back. The princelings of Westminster have been scheming hard to overturn the oiky serfs who voted Leave.

On Wednesday we saw the latest skirmish in this neuralgic (but so far thankfully nonviolent) conflict. Eleven Conservative MPs, led by Dominic Grieve QC, collaborated with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and other opposition parties to demand that they, rather than Theresa May, should approve or block our withdrawal from the EU.

The rebel Tories claimed to be acting out of the highest motivation but all 11 of them were long-standing Europhiles and seven of them were disappointed ex-ministers.

Take Oliver Heald, a middle-rater who held various portfolios in Opposition and Government and was even made ‘Sir Oliver’ before No 10 said he should make way for younger blood. What a waste of a knighthood.

Or take Nicky Morgan, a thoroughly unimpressive former Cabinet minister who seems to boil with frustrated ambition — she once even fancied herself a future leader of the Tory Party! Or how about Jonathan Djanogly? He is a third division sort of talent but from a rich family and inherited John Major’s vast majority in Huntingdon.

Mr Djanogly served briefly as an unremarkable junior minister at the start of the Cameron Government before being returned to the backbenches. Who is to know what sort of desire for vengeance bubbles through his veins? How odd to think that Huntingdon was once Oliver Cromwell’s seat. I don’t suppose the meritocratic Lord Protector would have thought much of Squire Djanogly.

On Wednesday there was a strong whiff of regal self-entitlement from Mr Grieve, a former Attorney General who — it is said — nurses an unresolved sense of grievance that he, too, is no longer in Government.

I will not ask you to imagine this long- chinned, humourless scrivener Grieve in the shoulderlength, curly hairdo favoured by the 17th century Stuart royal family; nor, for that matter, will I give you nightmares by picturing Mrs May as a warted Cromwell in high collar and leather jerkin; but there are parallels.

FOR it is Mrs May who (however ineptly at times) is representing the put-upon commoners of England who have had enough. And it is Mr Grieve, who as he stamped his feet on Wednesday and said it was intolerable that he and his ilk should have their authority questioned, might so easily have been the imperilled absolute monarch.

‘The parliamentary process’, he averred, ‘is not just about the imposition of the will of the majority on the minority; it is the process by which we obtain consent for what the majority chooses to do.’

I defy you to read that and not discern in it the lofty attitude of the over-intellectual lawyer saying ‘we brainy few are the ones who run this country rather than you, the lumpen majority’.

For the record, let it be added that Mr Grieve is an ardent Francophile who is a member of France’s Legion d’Honneur. Given the strength Brussels’ Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier could gain from the trouble he has caused the May Government, Mr Grieve must surely be in line for an upgrade on his rank in the ‘legion’.

Not that there was anything particularly honourable about Wednesday’s debate. It was an illtempered affair, pretty one-sided, in that few Brexiteers bothered to take part.

You can hardly blame them, for those who did (such as North Essex’s faultlessly polite Bernard Jenkin) were shouted down, hissed and sneered at by a baying gang that included remainer MPs such as Chuka Umunna, Ben Bradshaw, Anna Soubry and Yvette Cooper. Mr Jenkin was even accused by Ms Cooper of ‘Stalinism’ for suggesting that she was seeking to ‘reverse Brexit’.

But is that not exactly what she and her little friends were up to? It is so obvious, I find it baffling the remainers pretend otherwise.

One who has at least given up that pretence is New Labour’s Lord Adonis, who after Wednesday’s vote tweeted the remark ‘ First step towards defeat of Brexit’. Miss Soubry then took to Twitter to make plain that she agreed with Adonis.

The Blairites and Tory Europhiles who took part in Wednesday’s debate did so with repeated, mocking claims that they were merely doing what the supporters of Brexit had allegedly wanted: they were letting Parliament ‘take back control’ of British sovereignty.

The way they said this, with curling lips and sarcasm, betrayed the fact that they were mocking the Leave campaign’s celebrated 2016 slogan. To these remainers, politics is like chess: a game with cunning gambits and ingenious feints, where the art is to be at least five intellectual moves ahead of your opponent.

Voters do not have the time or patience for such ironic drollery. They just want their politicians to get on with Brexit.

And yet we should admit there is a Catch-22 here. Yes, the Leave vote was about restoring sovereignty to the Westminster Parliament. ‘Take back control’ was a brilliant slogan because it so perfectly captured the argument for leaving the undemocratic, foreign-run EU.

But the next few months present a slender window of time in which — before our departure from the EU is agreed — that same Parliament could turn round and say ‘we choose to stay in the EU’.

That is the paralysis, the ingenious little conceit, that Mr Grieve and his Blairite confreres seem to be aiming for, and it is a great pity that Mrs May’s ill-fated snap election has given them the parliamentary numbers to make her life so difficult. Yet their posturing as defenders of democracy Self-entitled: Dominic Grieve, centre, and fellow Europhiles will not wash, for two reasons. The first is that the EU referendum was not a parliamentary election. It went beyond Westminster. In fact, it was a vote above and against Parliament by the People — and it had been set up as that by MPs themselves, as a result of an electoral promise in 2015 by David Cameron.

They may claim that Parliament trumps a referendum but the fact that this referendum was so firmly created by Parliament gives last year’s Leave vote the senior rank.

The second reason we should dismiss the remainers new-found claims to believe in parliamentary sovereignty is that for years these Grieves and Coopers and Umunnas and Soubrys and Ken Clarkes happily sold our democratic birthright as time and time again they allowed the EU and its justice system to override our parliamentary sovereignty and British courts.

They may now be clasping parliamentary self-determination to their bosoms but where was that noble principle when, for decades, they let Brussels make our laws?

I used to sit in the Press gallery when those EU edicts were imposed. Barely a voice was raised against them. Whoosh went billions of pounds in payments to the EU. The money was signed off by ministerial fiat. Yet now these same frauds claim that the Government can not use similar powers to get us out of that ruddy Brussels quicksand? What cant.

These brass-plated hypocrites may claim that they are seeking to strengthen Parliament but all they do is make plain Parliament’s opposition to the will of the people. And by so doing they undermine dangerously our trust in the very House they occupy.

Load More Related Articles
Load More In Brexit
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Trade deals are ‘a distraction’ from real benefits of Brexit – Jacob Rees-Mogg

Trade deals are ‘a distraction’ from real benefits of Brexit – Jacob Ree…